Ericsson, the Swedish telecom equipment company that is building an adtech business, this week bought Placecast to boost its ability to use carrier data for ad measurement and verification. Placecast is now part of Emodo, Ericsson’s programmatic mobile ad platform that helps telecom companies monetize their subscriber data, per AdExchanger.
Placecast is a location-based mobile data management platform whose services include Location Verification to validate the regional accuracy of geotargeted ad campaigns. The service relies on carrier data from Pinsight Media, a unit of Sprint, to confirm the precise placement of mobile ads so that advertisers can ensure their marketing messages are reaching the right audience.
Paul Cheng, the general manager of Ericsson Emodo, will lead the combined team of Emodo’s 27 employees and Placecast’s 38 employees in San Francisco. Placecast CEO Alistair Goodman will be chief commercial officer.
Advertisers have been looking for a mobile ad targeting solution outside the duopoly of Facebook and Google. Carriers have long strived for a bigger role in mobile advertising, touting their direct relationship with customers, but have, for the most part, struggled to gain a foothold. Adding Placecast's location data to the mix is one way to attract advertisers, many of whom are still trying to capitalize on mobile's ability to deliver contextually relevant ads.
Emodo is intended to help regional cellular companies attain a bigger scale by pooling their data in a way that is more competitive. Carrier data are valuable for marketers because cellular companies have validated information about subscribers and can see exactly how people use mobile devices for apps, web browsing, chat and email.
Ericsson makes most of its money on infrastructure, and recognizes that carriers are seeking additional ways to monetize their relationships with subscribers without raising prices, which is a challenge given the pricing dynamics of cellular service. Emodo positions itself as a broker of data among mobile operators, publishers and advertisers.
Emodo relies on advertising IDs that don’t reveal personal identifying information about a user, which helps to allay privacy concerns. That’s especially important in Europe, which has a strict data privacy law coming into effect on May 25. Emodo claims to have about 2 billion user profiles that most come from first-party SDKs and publisher partnerships. Emodo’s goal is to create a database of mobile users that protects their privacy while using carrier subscriber information that publishers and marketers can use for ad targeting or checking the quality of their own data. Emodo and Placecast plans to complete the process of integrating their systems by the end of Q2, per AdExchanger.